Choir needs boys to find its voice

ONE of the few surviving all-male choirs in the country urgently needs new recruits - because boys' voices are breaking earlier than ever before.

James Mortlock

ONE of the few surviving all-male choirs in the country urgently needs new recruits - because boys' voices are breaking earlier than ever before.

St Mary's Church Choir in Bury St Edmunds said boys' voices are breaking 18 months sooner than they did 30 years ago - threatening the choir's crucial top line, which is made up of boy choristers.

However, bosses believe that thanks to the popularity of TV shows such as Last Choir Standing, a solution may be at hand and are appealing for parents with sons aged over seven-and-a-half interested in trying out for the historic group to come forward. Usually, a boy's voice starts to break when he is aged between 13 and 15.


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Peter Tryon, director of music with the choir, said: “The main problem facing St Mary's nowadays is that voices are changing even earlier these days.

“It's an established fact that boys' voices are breaking 18 months earlier these days than they did 30 years ago.

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“So, with the new term coming up we're appealing for parents who have sons interested in trying out for the front row at St Mary's to come forward.

“Boys should be able to read fairly well and former musical training is not essential, although it helps.”

He said St Mary's was one of the most successful of all Suffolk choirs - able to trace its roots back over 600 years - and it was striving to maintain the tradition with the latest appeal.

The director of music stressed: “Singing in the beautiful setting of the fourth biggest parish church in the country, the choir achieves an exciting variety of music and an excellent social life alongside.”

Mr Tryon said that apart from its round of weekly services, including big events such as the County Remembrance Day, the choir was often called upon to sing at weddings and give concerts.

“Recently the choir has sung at St Paul's, Salisbury, Peterborough and Winchester cathedrals. Bi-annually it has also travelled abroad to places like Israel, Spain, Malta and Cyprus,” he said.

Youngsters interested in trying out for the choir should contact Mr Tryon on 01449 736049, e-mail petertryon@bgtinternet.com or go to the choir's website: www.theburyguide.co.uk/stmaryschoir

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